Peet counselor in running for national honor

By Sabine Martin

Deep in the center of the administrative offices at Peet Junior High is a small windowless office. But it is one of the happiest and most inspirational places of Peet. The quaint office is bursting with bright blues and pinks. “Dream big” and “Be brave” inspirational artwork cover the walls.

This office belongs to Rebecca Lins, who has been honored as one of Iowa’s best school counselors and now is competing to be the best school counselor in America. Like her office, she  “lights up the room” and is “encouraging and motivating” according to ninth grader Rachel Brokenshire.

In 2015, Lins received the Iowa School Counselor of the Year award (middle school level). This year, she is representing Iowa for the American School Counselor of the Year.

For Lins, school counseling has always been her path. “I became a school counselor because I grew up knowing I wanted to work with kids, empowering them and helping them through the good and hard times,” Lins said.

Now in her 11th year as a school counselor, she has made a career of inspiring people every day. “I felt like being a school counselor was my way of making a difference and hopefully making a positive impact,” Lins said.

Peet ninth grader Emma DeWitt has felt the impact of Lins’ teaching from the beginning. “I can’t imagine my experience at Peet without her because not only has she helped me become a better leader, but any time I have a problem, I know I can turn to her for help and assistance,” DeWitt said.

Lins has been in Cedar Falls her whole life. She graduated from Cedar Falls High School in 2000 and went to University of Northern Iowa for a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in counseling.

As a part of being a counselor, she is the leader of two groups in Peet. The women’s leadership group LEAD (Loving Everything About Differences) and student council. Many students are involved in these groups to become better leaders at Peet.

“I think one of the coolest things about Mrs. Lins is that she’s always thinking of others, and how she can make our school a better place,” DeWitt said. “She’s so dedicated to student council and making sure we improve our school in every possible way we can. She challenges us to think outside the box, and I’m very grateful for her because without her, our school wouldn’t be the same.”

As Lins flies to Washington, D.C., for the award finals in January 2017, all of her students will be here supporting her.

“Award or not, Mrs. Lins is the best counselor I could ever ask for, and she’ll always be that in my heart,” Brokenshire said. “Out of all the jobs in the world, she chose to be a school counselor, and I feel so blessed that out of the schools she works at, she works at mine. Just the fact that she wanted to be a school counselor shows the kind, caring heart she has, and I will forever feel honored that I got to meet such an amazing, special person.”

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